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Having a Plan for the Hand

I'm Back!

Hello DragTheBar members. I haven't posted a blog here in quite some time. I was afraid of my wordpress noobness. Either that or I was just lazy. I keep up a blog over at and there really isn't any reason not to post here as well.

I am less focused on my own play these days (I still grind out 100-200k micro stakes hands a month) and am more interested in teaching and blogging. So I am putting out tons of content specifically designed for YOU, the reader. Please keep in mind though that my target audience is the beginner level.

I hope you guys enjoy and please leave me any comments or suggestions below.


Anyone who has seen any of my videos at DragTheBar knows that I continually preach the importance of having a plan for the hand. I learned this concept primarily by watching the videos of world class players like Leatherass9

So what does having a plan for the hand actually mean?

It means that you formulate a course of action, usually on the flop, for the entire hand. And you absolutely stick to that plan, barring ridiculous turn and river cards, that completely change the complexion of the board. The two most important things to consider before determining your plan of action are the villain's stack size and player type.

Here is a hand that I played today which illustrates this point.


  • BTN is a 33/27/5 loose aggressive

My Plan

  • Check/call all 3 streets, again barring a ridiculous run out of turn and river cards.

If I cbet, this LAG villain is likely to either raise me (which puts me in a difficult spot out of position) or fold and I get nothing further from him. However, if I check he is very likely to stab at the pot with any two cards. And he will probably keep up the charade on future streets because that is what loose aggressive players do. I know this and will have to call on some ugly turn and river cards.

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

BB: $1.80
UTG: $2.21
Hero (CO): $5
BTN: $2.35
SB: $0.98

Pre-Flop: J A dealt to Hero (CO)

UTG folds, Hero raises to $0.06, BTN calls $0.06, 2 folds

Flop: ($0.15) J 4 5 (2 Players)

Hero checks, BTN bets $0.10, Hero calls $0.10

Turn: ($0.35) T (2 Players)

Hero checks, BTN checks

River: ($0.35) 5 (2 Players)

Hero bets $0.16, BTN calls $0.16

Results: $0.67 Pot ($0.03 Rake)

Hero showed J A and WON $0.64 (+$0.32 NET)

BTN mucked Q T and LOST (-$0.32 NET)

The hand didn't play out completely according to plan and I should have bet a bit more on the river. But I think I still managed to get the maximum out of him while keeping the pot at a manageable size out of position.

How do you go about planning out a hand?

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